When he moved to Lafayette, Sicilian-born chef Manny Augello realized the place was very similar to his homeland, where food is a celebration and cooked with passion. A zealous butcher and charcutier, Manny ran the kitchen at Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro, where he was recognized as a 2012 Louisiana Cookin’ Chef to Watch for his playful dishes that incorporated local ingredients and techniques.
When he left Jolie’s to start Bread & Circus Provisions with Abi Broussard Falgout, not only was Manny able to let his imagination run wild but also bring to bear his ever-growing passion for locally sourced seasonal products. While his menu is dotted with Acadian staples like cracklins and hog’s head cheese, Manny’s sense of adventure infuses everything.
Of his creations, the boudin-stuffed doughnut, or bounut, has captured the hearts and minds of the Hub City’s brunching masses. Really, though, how could savory pork-and-rice boudin wrapped in fluffy dough and topped with cane syrup not tug at the heartstrings of even the most skeptical Cajun? We got Manny to spill the beans on this culinary revelation and share tips on making unbeatable boudin.
Q Do you remember the first time you had boudin?
I didn’t grow up in Cajun Country, so my first real experience with boudin was only eight years ago. I found it very strange. It was this encased sausage filled with already-cooked meat and rice, but I grew very fond of it quickly. I remember my thoughts being that it was like a complete meal in a casing: a perfect meal.
Q Throughout southwest Louisiana do you notice different boudin flavor profiles?
Yes, but there’s more to the variance than just parish to parish or town to town. It’s really different family to family. The farther you get into the country, the more rustic it gets. The meat is shredded instead of ground. There might be more liver or offal bits (which I’m a big fan of). When you get into the city, people tend to go for a more clean tasting boudin, but sometimes it’s overly spiced. I prefer the rustic country style.
Q To you, what’s the perfect boudin?
I like ones with a real liver taste to them. The farther we get into the future, the less people like that flavor, and I really miss it when it isn’t there. It’s not that it’s just part of the traditional foodways, but it’s supposed to be a dominant boudin flavor. It really needs that iron-y flavor in it. I prefer that. Overall, boudin needs a good balance of meat to rice.
Q What tips would you give for someone who’s never made boudin before?
This is something that I’ve witnessed with people who’ve never made boudin before: they get too fussy with it. Boudin is really straightforward. It’s leftover meat bits and organs cooked down and ground up, then mixed with rice and put in a casing. My advice is to keep it simple.
Q What pairs well with boudin?
When I think about what pairs well with boudin, it never ends up being a food or drink. It’s more of a feeling: Loud live music; tailgates; crawfish boils; a backyard bonfire.
Q Tell us your thoughts on liver, and why you use chicken liver instead of pork in your boudin.
I like how the chicken liver almost melts into the boudin and the boudin doesn’t end up with chunks of liver in it, which can happen with pork liver. Depending on the age of the hog, the liver can cook up to be a little bit dry, and the chicken liver is more buttery and blends in better. It still gives an effect of liver flavor, though.
Q How did you come up with the bounut (and how do you pronounce it)?
It’s boo-nut. It wasn’t totally my idea. About three years ago,
my business partner, Abi Broussard Falgout, and I came up with it together. One day we were shooting around ideas and she said, “Why don’t we stuff a doughnut with boudin?”
This was long before the boudin king cake. She badly wanted a doughnut with boudin, and my thoughts on it were that the boudin shouldn’t go on top; it should be inside, so you could taste it in every bite. We developed a doughnut/brioche dough that incorporates chicken fat instead of lard. We paired it with Poirier’s cane syrup. Charles Poirier babies that syrup so much, from growing it to the syrup. It’s the perfect pairing.
- 1 (0.25-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1½ cups warm milk (105° to 110°)
- ⅓ cup warm chicken fat*
- ¼ cup water
- 2 large eggs
- 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2½ cups Bread & Circus Boudin (recipe follows)
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- Garnish: confectioners’ sugar and cane syrup
- In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm milk, chicken fat, ¼ cup water, and eggs. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift together 5 cups flour, sugar, and salt. With mixer running on low speed, gradually pour in yeast mixture until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until dough comes together. (Dough should look wet and with no form.) Pour onto a lightly floured surface, and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Knead dough to a soft consistency, adding up to 2 cups flour, if necessary. Transfer dough to a floured rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- In a large Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 4 inches, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325°.
- Place dough back onto a floured surface, and shape into four equal size pieces. Using a rolling pin and plenty of flour, roll out dough into 4-inch-wide strips, about ¼ inch thick. Place golf-ball-size portions of Bread & Circus Boudin on half of dough strips about 3 inches apart. Brush around boudin with water. Cut remaining strips of dough into 4-inch squares, and without stretching, drape them over each portion of boudin. Gently press dough strips together, and cut with a 3-inch biscuit cutter.
- Fry doughnuts in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Let drain on paper towels. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons hot water. Liberally brush doughnuts with glaze, and garnish with confectioners’ sugar and cane syrup, if desired. Serve warm.
- 1½ gallons chicken stock
- 3 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes with fat cap attached
- 14 cloves garlic, peeled
- 5 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 4 cups chopped white onion
- 2 cups seeded and chopped green bell pepper
- 2 cups chopped celery
- ¾ pound chicken livers
- 1½ cups chopped green onion
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 8 cups long-grain rice, cooked according to package directions and divided
- In a large stockpot, combine stock, pork, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Cook over medium heat for 1½ hours. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, and continue cooking until meat is tender. Add chicken livers, and cook 20 minutes more.
- Remove from heat, and add green onion, parsley, and 4 cups cooked rice. Stir well, and strain, reserving liquid.
- With a meat grinder fitted with the large die, grind meat mixture, adding a little liquid, as needed, to help with grinding. Once ground, add remaining 4 cups cooked rice and enough reserved liquid until desired consistency is reached.* Reserve remaining liquid for another use. Boudin will keep up to 3 days refrigerated or 3 months frozen.
Note: Extra boudin can be cased in natural hog casing and poached for 18 minutes.